Flemish Dance and Songbooks — Piffaro

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Program: #09-19   Air Date: May 04, 2009

The superb American wind ensemble, with their informed performances of this popular repertoire.

We continue our association with our partners at the Tourist Office for Flanders, Belgium. For more general information on Flanders, you may contact the tourist office at:


Flemish Dance and Songbooks:

The superb American wind ensemble, with their informed performances of this popular repertoire.

For more information on Piffaro, you may check out their Web site:


NOTE: Many of the dances from these recordings are from one publication: Tielman Susato's 1551 Het derde musyck boexken...alder hande danserye ("The Third Music Book") published in Antwerp. Other works will be so noted.

This is the third popular set of these dance and song publications--the complete translation for Volume I is: The First Music Book, in Four Parts, wherein are contained 28 new lovely songs in our Low Dutch language, composed by different composers, very play to sing and to play upon all different kinds of musical instruments. Printed at Antwerp by Tielman Susato, swelling in the Krummhorn over against the new Weighing House. Cum Gratia et Privilegio. Anno 1551.

Since Tielman played the krummhorn in the Antwerp town band, and it was a familiar idea to have a sign for illiterate or semi-literate patrons to show what was inside an establishment, he famously named his house for the instrument he played and the sign he displayed.

More on Susato from Joseph Stevenson, All Music Guide:

Tylman Susato was important as a composer and very important as a music printer. Much about his origins and early years is unknown. Scholars take his name to mean "from Soest," referring to a Westphalian town in the bishopric of Cologne. This is supported from his occasionally signing himself Tylman Susato Agrippinensis, after the old name for Cologne, Colonia Aggripina. Thus, it is concluded, he was either born in Soest himself or was part of an Antwerp family originating from there.

Records show that in 1529 and 1530 he was a calligrapher at Antwerp Cathedral, and after 1531 added the position of trumpeter to his duties. In 1532 there is reference in the city archives of "Tielman van Colen," a town musician who owned several wind instruments. He continued as a town player until 1540.

In 1541 he went into the printing business, going partners with Henry ter Bruggen, an engraver and map maker who obtained a license to print music late that year, and Willem van Vissenaecken. Something went wrong with this business, and in September 1542 Susato made another partnership, with van Vissenaecken alone. They published a book of motets. This partnership also split, with Susato going into business alone and obtaining his first privilege to print music on July 20, 1543.

Susato ran this business for 18 years, establishing the first important music publishing house in the Low Countries. His publications included both anthologies and books devoted to single composers. One of his projects was a series he called the Musyck boexken, comprising Flemish songs. In the preface to the first one he asked Flemish composers to send him songs "suitable for publication" to show that "our Flemish tongue" was as suitable for music as French, Latin, or Italian. Another of his publications, Souterliedekens, is a group of polyphonic and metrical Dutch psalm settings, intended for the home rather than church.

His most important original music is a set of two books of 50 cantus firmus chansons in "two or three parts," meaning with the bass part optional. This is the largest number of extant cantus firmus chansons by any composer. Susato said in his preface to them that their purpose was to teach and encourage younger people who were not experienced at singing in ensemble. As such, the polyphonic writing is imitative. In addition, Susato also wrote and arranged various dances of the time in relatively simple, more homophonic texture. ~ Joseph Stevenson, All Music Guide

I. Music from the Odhecaton: Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the First Printed Music (Dorian CD 90301)

--ANTOINE BRUHIER (fl 1500): Latura tu
--ALEXANDER AGRICOLA (c.1446-1506): Je nay dueul
--JACOB OBRECHT (c.1452-1505): T'ander naken
--AGRICOLA: C'est mal charche; Alles regrets
--JOHANNES STOKEM (1445-after 1501): Brunette

II. A Flemish Feast: Flemish Renaissance Wind Music (Archiv CD 457 609-2)

--Anon. Flemish Melodies: T'andernaken; Laet ons mit hartzen; Hoboekentanz; Ihesus is een kyndekyn cleyn
--PIERRE de la RUE (c.1460-1518): Ave regina caelorum; Pourquoy non
--(Susato): Passe et medio & reprise; Three Galliardes; La Mourisque
--AGRICOLA: Crions Noel
--ERASMUS LAPICIDA: T'andernaken
--OBRECHT: Laet u ghenoughen, liever Johan
--(Susato): Entre du fol; Mon desir
--JOHANNES GHISELIN (fl. early 1500s): Je loe amours
--PIERRE ALAMIRE (c.1475-after 1534): T'andernaken
--AGRICOLA/GHISELIN: (two untitled works)
--Anon.: De tous biens playne
--(Susato): Pavane & Galliarde "La dona"
--Anon.: Wij sheyt edel vrouwe
--(Susato): Allemaigne; Four Branles; Bergerette


Composer Info

ANTOINE BRUHIER (fl 1500), ALEXANDER AGRICOLA (c.1446-1506), JACOB OBRECHT (c.1452-1505), JOHANNES STOKEM (1445-after 1501), PIERRE de la RUE (c.1460-1518), JOHANNES GHISELIN (fl. early 1500s), PIERRE ALAMIRE (c.1475-after 1534)

CD Info

Dorian CD 90301, Archiv CD 457 609-2,

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